Last year a Chinese court found Tesla guilty of sales fraud after a Model S sold without an accident was found to have major structural damage. Now, after losing a call on the case, the company is suing for evidence of the case on social media.
While this isn’t the first time Tesla has threatened to sue over social media posts, this particular case is unique. Not only has this lawsuit been filed, but it is a direct response to articles on the previous sales fraud case. Tesla is seeking damages from Han Chao, who has filed a fraud claim.
First, a bit of history on the original case. In June 2019, Chao purchased a certified Model S P85D directly from Tesla for 379,700 RMB ($ 58,788 at current exchange rates). The car was advertised as crash-free, but a series of issues led to Chao having it checked out by a third-party store. There, mechanics found evidence of serious structural problems, including the complete replacement of the C-pillar.
After being denied a refund, Chao sued Tesla for sales fraud. During the lawsuit, Tesla provided documents showing the Model S was involved in a collision just months before Chao made his purchase. A Chinese court found Tesla guilty and ordered the company to reimburse the car and triple its value in damages. Tesla appealed the decision, but the courts stood firm: Tesla was wrong.
Now the company is trying a different tactic – suing Chao directly for libel. Chao’s Weibo Account Posts Detail Lawsuit Over Five Million Yuan, Nearly $ 775,000, And Requests To Remove Any Previous Post On The Social Media Platform‘s Sale Fraud Lawsuit .
Despite the threat of legal action, Chao hasn’t stopped discussing Tesla on his Weibo page. Through South China Morning Post:
Han publicly ridiculed the complaint. “Are you saying that even if you have to pay me over a million yuan in compensation, even though I am the victim, I cannot speak badly of you and I have to pay 5 million as a price?” He wrote on Weibo.